Devon has an outstanding natural environment with a range of international and national protected landscapes.
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, along with National Parks, are the nation’s finest landscapes, given statutory protection by Government. There are five AONBs in Devon, three wholly within the County ie North Devon Coasts, East Devon and South Devon and two are cross-boundary with neighbouring authorities, Tamar Valley and Blackdown Hills. Taken with Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks, these “protected landscapes” cover 35% of Devon.
The statutory purpose of AONBs is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape. They have the same landscape value as National Parks. Each of the 5 AONBs is managed by a local partnership. They bring together rural and landscape management initiatives that assist the delivery of the sustainable development agenda for the County. The distinct and unique qualities of each AONB need care and attention. Action is co-ordinated in each AONB by a small local team guided by a wider community partnership.
The East Devon AONB landscape is characterised by intimate wooded combes, vast areas of heathland, fertile river valleys and breathtaking cliffs or hilltops. It includes the East Devon section of the Jurassic Coast - England's first natural World Heritage Site - and is a living, working landscape shaped by many centuries of farming activity...........
The landscape of East Devon is largely man made, shaped by man's activities from prehistoric times to the present. However, the underlying geology has influenced this process. The geology of the AONB ranges from the infertile Triassic sandstone of the pebble bed heaths in the west, to the more fertile Jurassic and Cretaceous sandstones and limestones in the east. This geology gives rise to a diverse landscape which in turn helps to provide the conditions on which our rich and abundant biodiversity can thrive.